Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: Lost & Found

Lost & Found
Author: Brooke Davis
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: 26 January 2016
Page Count: 272
Buy it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon
Source: e-book provided by author
Audience: Adult - Contemporary

When I first read the synopsis of Lost & Found, I thought I would be reading a children's book, one suitable for kids ages 7-12, but as I began to read the story, I realized that adults, and even older teens, would appreciate it more.

Lost & Found is about Millie Bird, a seven-year-old who is obsessed with dead things; Karl, an 87-year-old man who has been lost since his wife died; and Agatha Pantha, an 82-year-old woman who hasn't left her house since her husband died.  Millie's father recently died from cancer.  Her mum, unable to deal with his death and raise a child on her own, leaves Millie one day in the women's underwear section of a large department store.  She tells Millie to wait there and she'll back, but she never reappears.  Millie bides her time by hiding in the middle of an underwear wrack, hiding behind ginormous women's underwear and exploring the store at night when it's closed and everyone has gone home.  During the second day, she meets Karl in the cafe.  Millie is just like any normal seven-year old, full of questions.  After a night of boredom and too much mischief: opening board games, trying on clothes, opening make-up containers, painting on the windows, Millie is caught by the security guard.  Not wanting the police to take her away, she escapes and gets Karl to run with her. They grab the mannequin, Mannie, who has become Millie's friend and race away.  Millie heads back home to find her mum, but when she gets there, she soon realizes her mum is truly gone, her closet empty.  Millie goes across the street to the house where she sees a woman at the window.  Millie soon works her magic on Agatha and Agatha agrees to help her find her mum.  Millie, Karl, and Agatha set out across Australia to find Millie's mum and reunite them.  Along the way, they meet many different people, ride on and drive a bus, ride a train, steal a car, get in fights, and have more adventure than they've ever had in their entire lives.

I loved this story.  It has so much to offer anybody who happens to read it.  It has adventure, loss, humor, romance, self-realization, to name a few.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading, but it soon didn't matter because I was lost in the heart-wrenching story of these three extraordinary characters.  Karl and Agatha have both lost their spouses, Agatha's not even sure she loved her late husband, Millie has lost her dad and is trying hard not to believe she's lost her mum as well.  All three are lost, Karl and Agatha aren't sure who they are anymore, defined by their marriages and significant others. But their journey with Millie makes them both realize that even though their spouses are dead, they themselves are not. They still have so much living to do at tender ages of 82 and 87.  This story shows you're never too old and it's never too late to start something new, to learn and grown and to live your life to the fullest.  For Millie, she finds a new family in Karl and Agatha, proving that your family is not always related by blood.  Millie was given a bad hand, but she was able to turn it into a wonderful life.

The characters were remarkably well written, the three main burrowing into your heart.  You find yourself wanting them to succeed in their quest, but at the same time, hoping that if they do, it won't be the end for them.  I truly loved each one.  They were each so unique and well thought out. Their characters so different from each other, but they fit well together.  I've never before read about an 87-year-old touch typist who steals the dashes off keyboards, but I will also never forget him.

I was a little disappointed with the ending.  It wasn't a bad ending, each character had come full circle, realizing that life isn't perfect, but you can always make lemonade from lemons.  They had grown and for Karl and Agatha, they had learned to love again; and for Millie, she learned that she could love people besides her parents, and create a new family.  However, I would have liked a bit more closure.  Though, in saying that, it was still a great read.

Lost & Found was Brooke Davis's debut novel and with it she has created a fan in me.  I will happily read more of her books when they are published.

One Last Thought: I'm used to reading books where dialogue is in quotation marks and inner thoughts are usually italicized. In this book, all dialogue and inner thoughts were italicized, there were no quotation marks.  It was a bit disconcerting.  I struggled to get used to that way of writing throughout the majority of the book.

Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved watching the growth of Karl and Agatha, seeing them wake up and come alive.  It put a smile on my face every time one of them "misbehaved" or got into to trouble. At points they acted like children and it was fun to read.

First Sentence: Millie's Dog, Rambo, was her Very First Dead Thing.

Favorite Character: Millie Bird, though Karl is a very close second

Least Favorite Character: Millie's mum

Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.

Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.

Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.

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